Caffeine: consider the consequences before the benefit


Photo by Kerrigan Edwards

Courtney Redford fulfills barista duties.

Ashlynn Kidder, Staff Writer

From teas to coffee, some chocolates, sodas, and occasionally even supplements, caffeine is a key ingredient in everyday substances. It is also commonly emphasized in movies and television shows. Caffeine can be found everywhere, from your local Starbucks to the almost concerning amount of coffee Lorelai drinks in an episode of “Gilmore Girls”. However, caffeine can be dangerous, especially for teenagers.

“We don’t really know the long-term effects yet,” Health Occupations teacher Christi Virts said. Virts encourages students to make intelligent decisions when drinking any amount of caffeine.

 “Education may be the first key,” Virts said. 

Kids don’t know the full effect of caffeine. Virts is not against students having access to energy drinks and other beverages in school because having one energy drink or cup of coffee won’t cause major side effects as long as the student drinks the appropriate portions. Keeping students well educated on the products they consume can possibly prevent the more severe effects that come with unreasonable caffeine consumption. 

“Once you start drinking caffeine, you don’t stop,” City Brew employee and junior Courtney Redford said. Redford said she finds herself growing concerned for the health of her peers and customers when she witnesses everyone around her drinking caffeine, especially because she decided to cut back on caffeine for her own personal well-being.

 “Once they come in, you will see them again,” Redford said. She often hears customers joking about needing their daily caffeine fix to prevent the headaches that happen when they try to go without. 

Being addicted to caffeine isn’t only harmful to your body, but also your financial stability. Redford witnesses regular customers spending thousands of dollars a year to support their coffee habits. She sees people asking for up to five extra shots in their drinks, which can result in a considerably large upcharge. Redford’s advice to high school students is to “just be careful,” watch your portions and pay attention to the facts. 

Junior Allie Brown hadn’t considered the dangers of her caffeine habits until she was given some health and financial statistics. Brown typically drinks an average of eight caffeinated drinks each day. From a cold Starbucks drink, to a few energy drinks, to soda at work, her access to these drinks seems unlimited.

 “I have access to more at school,” she said. She often notices herself getting shaky when she doesn’t drink enough coffee, and she said she relies on her daily caffeine to get her through the day. Brown most likely will never fully cut caffeine out of her diet, but she recognizes that her large portions may be a problem. She also knows that drinking plenty of water is important on a normal day, but drinking extra water could keep her hydrated since her coffees and energy drinks may not do a good enough job.

Caffeine will most likely always be around and loved by a large majority of students. It can be helpful for busy students who push themselves in order to maintain good grades and an alert mind during class time. Access to beverages like coffee and energy drinks is supported by most faculty and students, assuming the consumers are aware of the statistics, dangers, and recommended servings. 

Teenagers who remain cautious of their physical and mental health are most likely to keep a clear, happy mind and put their best effort into school work.